“Leadership is more than just rallying followers, it is about changing systems.” -Martha Maywood Mertz, “Becoming Athena”
Advocate for Your Community
What does Community mean to me? I define Tribe as the people I love and support and dedicate the bulk of my emotional time to where I want them all to individually succeed and I’ll do my best to support them in their efforts. My Community, then, is the people that surround my life as I encounter them in spaces where I am spending my time to collectively make all of our lives better.
Communities can be civic, philanthropic, religious/spiritual, physically-minded, or career-based. It can also be a few other things I haven’t even thought to write here.
For me, my communities include a Neighborhood Association, a Main Street, and the Orlando political scene. Each builds on the other to create a more personable, profitable, and progressive community where we all can be happy and successful.
In the Athena WE talk, I brought up two of our Orlando stars in politics, Anna Eskamani and Patty Sheehan. Anna has made a big splash as our state House of Representative. I’ve heard her speak at a couple of NLC events and was thrilled she ran for office. Now, she’s making waves by supporting the right things that give people more rights. She’s a very renegade, rebellious type of politician and I give a lot of credit to her for that, because that’s not exactly my style! It takes a lot of armor to be at the forefront of demanding change, which she has a great experience with having been the President of Planned Parenthood for Central Florida.
City Commissioner for District One Patty Sheehan is a tried and true member and hero for Orlando. She has been a LGBTQ+ advocate since the early nineties and ran as an openly gay woman in 2000. She is an advocate for all of her constituents, and after the Pulse Tragedy, became a national spokeswoman representing all of Orlando. I’ve heard her speak many times, but my favorite time was at one of the first Femcity meetings back in 2012 where she spoke on being a woman in politics. It was great to hear her thoughts at such an intimate event and made me feel excited about what else she would be a part of in Orlando and beyond.
Not necessarily interested in being a politician, but you want to see your Community improve? Try attending and joining one of these many organizations that help you make your Community a better place.
- League of Women Voters (nation-wide)
- Ruth’s List (or the equivalent in your state)
- Orlando Young Professionals (or your local young professionals’ group, if you don’t live here)
- New Leaders Council (more than 40 chapters around the country)
- Mayor’s City Summit (annual event)
People in influential positions in leadership and advocacy can also change how the world works. What are you doing to help make your Communities better places?